Jenna Rice is a Masters of Professional Studies student in the Cornell Civic Ecology Lab. She converted her spring internship with the Ithaca Children's Garden into a search for nature activities that can be done at home.
As social distancing continues, you may be getting a little stir crazy. Keeping busy during this time can be a challenge, but now that the weather is beginning to warm up, there are plenty of ways to connect with nature. Below is a list of activities to keep you and your family busy and entertained, both indoors and out.
If you don’t have much natural space at your disposal, that’s ok! The following are indoor activities:
While botanic gardens around the US remain closed due to COVID-19, many have adapted content fit for home-viewing. The New York Botanical Gardens (https://www.nybg.org/nybg-at-home/), Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (https://www.buffalogardens.com/pages/our-gardens), Portland Japanese Garden (https://japanesegarden.org/coronavirus/) and Brooklyn Botanic Garden (https://www.bbg.org/news/stroll_through_the_japanese_garden_in_bloom_video) are great resources that have wonderful virtual tours and videos of their gardens. The beautiful springtime blooms and natural sounds will be a relaxing and refreshing alternative to the Netflix show you’ve been binge-watching.
Linked below are some fun, educational and kid-friendly indoor gardening activities.
1. Make your own chia pet at home: https://kidsgardening.org/garden-activities-plant-people/
2. Grow your own greens inside: https://kidsgardening.org/garden-activities-grow-your-own-salad/
3. Introduce your little one to the life cycle of plants: https://kidsgardening.org/garden-activities-seed-viewer/
If you have access to an outdoor space, the activities below are a great way to get your family outside in the fresh air (and if we’re lucky, to get some sun!):
Get your kids’ creative juices flowing with these nature-based art activities:
1. Make paint with soil: https://kidsgardening.org/garden-activities-soil-art/
2. Use plant pigment as natural dye: https://kidsgardening.org/garden-activities-leaf-and-flower-prints/
3. Make leaf prints: https://theimaginationtree.com/leaf-printing-art/
Get to know your local birds!
1. Set out snacks for your feathered friends: https://ny.audubon.org/get-outside/peanuts-are-birds
2. DIY a birdbath: https://ny.audubon.org/get-outside/how-make-birdbath
3. Make a bird feeder out of a shoebox lid: https://littlepinelearners.com/an-easy-and-adorable-bird-feeder-for-kids-to-make/
4. Learn about local birds: https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/54755.html
Ithaca Children’s Garden via ICG @ Home (https://ithacachildrensgarden.org/category/icg-home/) will be posting more nature-based family activities weekly. If you’re looking for more activities like these, be sure to check out their website!